Man who died after being arrested naked in Little Italy identified

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SAN DIEGO — Authorities Wednesday released the name of a man who suffered an apparent medical emergency and died after police arrested him for running naked through late-night traffic in Little Italy.

Vito Vitale, 39, died late Friday, less than an hour after being taken into custody in the neighborhood on the northwest outskirts of downtown San Diego, according to police.

Officers responding to reports of a seemingly intoxicated man running nude and yelling for help in the 600 block of West Grape Street shortly after 11 p.m. detained and handcuffed Vitale, who then began struggling with them, Lt. Matt Dobbs said.

After the patrol personnel and several good Samaritans were able to subdue the suspect, he “went into medical distress,” and the officers began providing first aid, the lieutenant said. Paramedics took Vitale to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead just before midnight.

A ruling on Vitale’s cause of death was on hold pending completion of postmortem examinations.

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